The opinion of the court was delivered by: McCLURE, District Judge.
On April 28, 1999, plaintiffs John and Mary Doe commenced this
action against various defendants*fn1 with the filing of a
complaint pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act
("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.*fn2; section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Rehab Act"), 29 U.S.C. § 794; Title
IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title IV"); and
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs allege, inter alia, that defendants violated
their civil rights by excluding plaintiffs from participation in
the foster care program run by Centre County because of the
disability of plaintiffs' son and on account of plaintiffs' race.
See Complaint at ¶ 1.
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. By order dated October 13, 1999, this court converted
defendants' motion to a motion for summary judgment pursuant to
Rule 12(b), noting that defendants' motion and supporting brief
referenced matters outside of the complaint. The order set forth
a supplemental briefing schedule for both parties to address the
matters outside of the complaint raised in defendants' motion.
This matter is now fully briefed and ripe for disposition. For
the reasons which follow, we will grant defendants' motion.
In addition, plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration of
the October 13th order, and brief in support thereof. Although
defendants have not responded to the motion, and the time has
passed for defendants to file a timely response, the court will
proceed to deny plaintiffs' motion on the merits.*fn3
I. Reconsideration Standard
The federal rules allow a party to move to alter or amend a
judgment within ten (10) days of its entry. FED.R.CIV.P. 59(e).
According to the Third Circuit, "[t]he purpose of a motion for
reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of law or to
present newly discovered evidence." Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki,
779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). However, where evidence is not
newly discovered, a party may not submit that evidence in support
of a motion for reconsideration. Id. at 909 (citing DeLong
Corp. v. Raymond Int'l Inc., 622 F.2d 1135, 1139-40 (3d Cir.
1980)). Accordingly, reconsideration motions will be granted only
where (1) an intervening change in the law has occurred, (2) new
evidence not previously available has emerged, or (3) the need to
correct a clear error of law or prevent a manifest injustice
arises. North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co.,
52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995). Reconsideration of judgment is an
extraordinary remedy; therefore, such motions are to be granted
sparingly. NL Industries v. Commercial Union Ins., 935 F. Supp. 513
(D.N.J. 1996) (citing Maldonado v. Lucca, 636 F. Supp. 621,
630 (D.N.J. 1986)).
A. No Manifest Error of Law
Plaintiffs contend that "the Court's decision to convert
defendants' motion constitutes a manifest error of law which will
result in manifest injustice to plaintiffs." Plaintiffs'
Supplemental Opposition Brief at 5. Plaintiffs base this argument
on the proposition that both parties have conducted little or no
We disagree. In fact, as set forth in defendants' supplemental
supporting brief, the court indicated at the hearing on the
motion for preliminary junction that it was likely that all the
evidence presented on that day would be comprehensive with
respect to the disposition of the case.
The court finds that the evidence introduced at the day long
hearing is a sufficient basis for a motion for summary judgment.
Indeed, it would be disingenuous for plaintiffs to assert that
"little or no discovery" has taken place in light of the
statistics, documents and testimonial evidence produced by both
parties at the hearing. While a trial court should not generally
convert a motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment
where there has been little or no discovery "because the parties
may not be able to present enough material to support or oppose a
motion for summary judgment," Owens v. Hahnemann University, et
al., Civ.A. No. 9404654, 1995 WL 392516 at *2 (E.D.Pa. June 27,
1995), the court finds that the factual record is sufficiently
developed for the purposes of a summary judgment motion, as there
are no material facts yet to be discovered.
In sum, it is our belief that conversion of the motion to
dismiss to a motion for summary judgment is proper and will
facilitate an appropriate disposition of this matter.
Accordingly, we will deny plaintiffs' motion for
reconsideration. We will now proceed to analyze the merits of the
motion for summary judgment.
II. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate if the "pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories,
and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(c) (emphasis added).
. . [T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates
the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time
for discovery and upon motion, against a party who
fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of
proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be `no
genuine issue as to any material fact,' since a
complete failure of proof concerning an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily
renders all other facts immaterial. The moving party
is `entitled to judgment as a matter of law' because
the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient
showing on an essential element of her case with
respect to which she has the burden of proof.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-324, 106 S.Ct.
2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).
The moving party bears the initial responsibility of stating
the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the
record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. Celotex at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548. He or she can
discharge that burden by "showing . . . that there is an absence
of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex at
325, 106 S.Ct. 2548.
Issues of fact are genuine "only if a reasonable jury,
considering the evidence presented, could find for the non-moving
party." Childers v. Joseph, 842 F.2d 689, 693-694 (3d Cir.
1988) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). Material facts are
those which will affect the outcome of the trial under governing
law. Anderson at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505. The court may not weigh
the evidence or make credibility determinations. Boyle v. County
of Allegheny, 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998). In determining
whether an issue of material fact exists, the court must consider
all evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Boyle at 393; White v.
Westinghouse Electric Co., 862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988).
If the moving party satisfies its burden of establishing a
prima facie case for summary judgment, the opposing party must do
more than raise some metaphysical doubt as to material facts, but
must show sufficient evidence to support a jury verdict in its
favor. Boyle at 393 (quoting, inter alia, Matsushita Electric
Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106
S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)).
III. Statement of Material and Undisputed Facts
In contravention of LR 56.1 of the Local Rules for the Middle
District of Pennsylvania, defendants failed to file a "separate,
short and concise statement of the material facts, in numbered
paragraphs, as to which the moving party contends there is no
genuine issue to be tried." LR 56.1.
In our order dated August 30, 1999 denying plaintiffs' motion
for a preliminary injunction, the court set forth 116 findings of
fact. See Order dated August 30, 1999 at 3-19. As the motion
for preliminary injunctive relief arises out of the same set of
facts as the motion for summary judgment, we will deem those
facts to be material and undisputed which are set forth as
findings of fact in our August 30th memorandum, and the same are
incorporated herein by reference; provided, however, that
findings of fact numbered 17, 51, 54 and 80 have been excluded in
deciding the instant motion as either immaterial to our
discussion, or subject to dispute.
However, as previously stated, the court does not believe there
is a need for further discovery on any or all material issues
raised in defendants' motion for summary judgment. John and Mary
Doe have submitted an affidavit which states a need for extensive
discovery "to address defendants' direct threat, qualified
immunity and ripeness claims." Plaintiffs' Supplemental
Opposition Brief at 10, citing Doe Affidavit, attached thereto as
With respect to the direct threat allegation, the court finds
that based on the evidence presented at the June 22, 1999
hearing, and affidavit submitted by the Does, there is no genuine
issue of material fact as to the presence of a direct threat to a